We are so excited to debut Teacher Feature, a brand-new column that turns the spotlight on one of Water's finest in an effort to bring our school community just a little bit closer in these crazy times. Our teachers are working so hard to give our kids the best year possible, and we think they deserve a little attention!
First up: Ms. Novak, a beloved Kindergarten teacher who always (seriously, always!) has a smile on her face.
Ms. Novak! What do you love most about teaching Kindergarten at Waters?
Kindergarten holds such a special place in my heart. I love seeing school from a young point of view, and I always have a blast taking my class on their first trip to the garden. Waters is the best place to allow them to explore, be creative and learn. Their imaginations go wild!
You must have so many funny stories!
So many! Last year, there was a smell in our room from a student's spilled breakfast milk. This little firecracker girl stood up on her chair with her hands on her hips and said, “Alright seriously guys, who is stinking up this classroom!? This has to stop! I’m only human!” I was falling over laughing. No filter on kinder kids!
Do you remember your Kindergarten teacher? Yes! She had a large treasure chest filled with prizes that she would bring out and reward students she caught being kind to one another during the day. Teaching kindness and empathy is so important, especially for this age group, so it's something I've replicated in my classroom.
What’s something your students would be surprised to know about you? I’m an adrenaline junkie and I absolutely love outdoor sports. I recently went white water rafting and loved it! Most wouldn’t see me as someone who loves to fish or go four wheeling, but they're some of my favorite past times—especially when I'm at my family's farm.
If you could enroll in another Waters teacher’s class for a day, whose would you choose and why? Mr. Leki! I was lucky enough to share a room with him during my first year at Waters, and he is one of the loveliest people you’ll ever meet. He's got such a kind soul, and that kindness radiates into the kids. I also love being outside and getting my hands dirty, so his class would be awesome!
If you could take your students on a field trip anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? A wildlife sanctuary in Africa. I would love to be able to show my students animals in their actual habitat, not a zoo, and teach them the importance of protecting wildlife.
An animal lover! Do you have any pets?
Yes, my dogs are my everything! I have a 5 yr old spaniel named Purdey and a 5 month old Bracco Italiano named Gretchen! They love to be a part of my virtual teaching. I also have a saltwater tank with 2 clownfish (Bonnie & Clyde) a blue tang (Bubbles) a candy basslet (Candy) a cleaner shrimp (Francoise) and a starfish (Star)
Thank you Ms. Novak!
Photo credits: Leah Rieger